The Holy ways of the Cross, or, A short treatise on the various trials and afflictions, interior and exterior, to which the spiritual life is subject, and the means of making a good use thereof
Publisher London : Burns, Oates, & Co.
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Dedication to Our Lady of Pity . . . xix
Dedication to St. John the Evangelist and the Blessed Maries on Calvary ... xxi
THE SCIENCE OF THE CROSS IS A HIDDEN MYSTERY.
This mystery was hidden from Jews and Gentiles ; and even from Christ's own disciples. It is unintelligible to the wise of this world ; however great their learning. It is opposed to worldly pride and delicate living. Many professedly devout persons ignorant of it. To be learnt only by Christian simplicity and mortification page 3
WHETHER IT BE PRUDENT TO WRITE RESPECTING THE WAYS OF THE CROSS.
A counter opinion stated. This opinion opposed to the practice of the doctors and masters of the spiritual life. The Lives of the Saints abound in relations of interior trials. The ill use made of such reading no argument against the treatment of the subject. The knowledge of it necessary in many cases. The valuable instruction thereby afforded. The compassion due to souls so terribly afflicted page 8
THE WAY OF THE CROSS IS THE ROYAL HIGH ROAD TO A BLESSED ETERNITY.
It is the road by which all Saints have passed. Examples from Holy Scripture. Security of those who walk therein. The ways fof consolation full of peril : by-paths at best, from which it is easy to go astray. The way of the Cross rough but safe page 13
WE MUST OF NECESSITY WALK IN THE WAY OF THE CROSS.
Crosses are inevitable on the way to Heaven. Sin must be punished. As the Head suffered, so must the members. Our Lord preached the doctrine of the Cross openly and to all ; and -pressed it -on His disciples. To be a Christian and to be crucified one and the same thing . . page 18
THE HAPPINESS OF A CHRISTIAN CONSISTS IN SUFFERING IN THIS WORLD. REPLY TO CERTAIN OBJECTIONS.
Several reasons given for this assertion. In particular, the grace of Jesus is a crucifying grace. Most crosses sent to those whom God loves most. Testimonies to the blessedness of suffering from Scripture and revelations made to Saints. Suffering necessary to draw man out of his state of cor. rnption. Life a state of warfare, and therefore of suffer, ing. Crosses necessary for perfecting the soul. They endure throughout life, and, if withdrawn for a while, are given back. Crosses are profitable, and even necessary, in order — 1. To satisfy the Divine Justice ; 2. To purge the soul of its imperfections ; 3. To humble us ; 4. To increase our grace and merit ; 5. To bring us into closer conformity to Christ. How God refreshes His elect. The joy that is promised and enjoined not a sensible joy ; but that which resides in the superior region of the soul. Abuses and faults may occur in the holiest states, but do not detract from the perfection of those states. The dangers of spiritual consolations. Jesus the true pattern of the elect ; His refusal of joys and satisfactions. Ought, then, guilty man to be exempt from suffering ? The value of suffering taught by Christ's example. The true import of His teaching. Testimonies thereto from Scripture and maxims of Saints — page 22
CROSSES ARE A MARK OF PREDESTINATION, AND OF A HIGH PREDESTINATION.
The thought of Eternity ; how little pondered. Suffering the portion of the elect. Express testimonies of Scripture to this truth. It is a law which knows no exception. The greatest Saints have borne the heaviest crosses. Sufferings serve to the increase of eternal glory . . . page 42
CROSSES EXALT TO MATCHLESS 6LORY.
No glory to be compared with that of the Cross. Remarkable language of St. John Chrysostom and St. Augustine. Our Lord's own words, and those of St. Paul. The suffering and the indigent exhorted to recognize the exceeding privileges of their state page 47
CROSSES ARE THE EARTHLY PARADISE.
No Paradise without God ; crosses unite to God. This union the source of solid happiness. Often more perfect the less it is felt and known. No rest save in God alone. Happy effect of meditating on crosses .... page 50
A Prayer to the Blessed Virgin, Queen oF all the holiest Lights of Grace page 54
THE WAYS OF THE CROSS ARE VARIOUS.
All true Christians walk by the way of the Cross ; but not all alike. Great variety of sufferings ; the creature bound to submit to the Creator's behests. Our Lord's whole life one continued suffering . . . . . . page 59
EVERY ONE MUST BEAR HIS OWN CROSS, AND IN THE MANNER GOD WILLS.
All who belonged to Christ have borne their cross. Three things of which we must beware : — 1. Not to procure ourselves crosses by our own faults ; 2. Not to occupy ourselves with desiring other crosses than those we have ; 3. Not to delude ourselves with desiring to bear our cross in a different way from that which God appoints. "We must turn our crosses to the best account. To which end we must look simply to the will of God page 63
WE MUST BEAR OUR CROSSES IN THE MANNER GOD WILLS.
The soul must blindly follow God's will, and not make reflections on itself. Disquietude of mind a stratagem of the devil. Sensible repugnance to sufferiug no proof of unwillingness to suffer. Impossible to escape temptations by our own efforts. Self-abandonment necessary in order to attain to perfect indifference. God never refuses His aid. In the strength of Jesus we shall be able to eudure and to overcome. We must not relax in our spiritual exercises although we feel nothing but repugnance to them . . page 67
Bodily defects a favour of Heaven. Bodily ailments a great grace, which must be utilized for Eternity. Pretexts of self-love. Incalculable blessings obtained by suffering souls. God, who wills infirmities, wills also the inconveniences and afflictions which they entail. Persons of very great virtue often so sensitive to pain as to be constrained to cry aloud from their excessive sufferings . . page 74
THE LOSS OF HONOUR.
Without contempt of worldly honour there can be no perfect union with God. Our Lord's abhorrence of it shown in the circumstances of His Birth and of His whole Life. How He was judged by the people; by priests and doctors of the law ; and by civil governors. His guilt inferred from the conduct of His disciples ; and His dereliction on the Cross. Loss of reputation knows no exceptions. To be despised by men a state very precious in the spiritual life . page 78
PERSECUTIONS ON THE PAST OF MEN.
As the world persecuted our Lord, so it will not spare His disciples. Its rash and cruel judgments. Its ingenuity in inventing, misrepresenting, and exaggerating. An instance in the case of Father Baltasar Alvarez. The interior life itself condemned by the world. Creatures nothing before God; their judgment therefore less than nothing. They who take pains to please people are not exempt from wounds and fall into many sins. Practical conclusions . page 84
CONTRADICTIONS ON THE PART OF THE GOOD.
Some good people harass others from pure but mistaken motives. But in many cases the corruption of nature mixes itself up with good intentions. Examples. All the great designs of God accomplished under the weight of the Cross. Condemnation by the good and virtuous permitted for the more perfect abasement of the elect. The use made thereof by the devil ...... page 91
ABANDONMENT BY CREATURES AND PARTICULARLY BY FRIENDS.
The being forsaken by friends a grievous affliction ; but in losing friends the true Christian finds God. No one so utterly forsaken as Jesus. The thought of this excites a holy desire of being abandoned by all ; the vastness of the subject. Blessed exchange : God instead of creatures. Interior abandonments most profitable page 96
Prayer to the Most Holy Virgin, Consoler of the Applicted . . page 100
OF INTERIOR SUFFERINGS ; AND FIRST OF TEMPTATIONS TO UNBELIEF AND BLASPHEMY.
These sufferings far surpass all exterior sufferings. Temptations against faith most terrible. Many Saints have endured them ; examples. We must not argue with such temptations ; danger of -so doing. Heresies come from the exercise of private judgment ; duty of sincere submission to the Pope and the Church. The remedy against such temptations lies in avoiding all voluntary reflections. Acts of faith real, though unconscious ; proofs of this. Temptations to blasphemy frighten more than they hurt; resistance mistaken for consent. The Lord Himself thus tempted. Sentiments of St. Teresa on this subject . . page 105
TEMPTATIONS TO DREAD OF REPROBATION, DESPONDENCY, AND DESPAIR.
Many holy souls have been thus afflicted. God desires our salvation more than we do ourselves; proof in the Incarnation, Crucifixion, and Blessed Eucharist. The remedy is to abandon ourselves to Divine Providence ; an heroic act of love. Our God Infinite Goodness. Frequent falls no ground of discouragement. These interior sufferings the chastisement of sin : this of itself a motive for courage. Temptation a sign of election ; the devil assails those who are the true servants of God page 112
OF DRYNESS, DARKNESS, DISTRACTIONS, AND REPUGNANCE TO PIOUS EXERCISES.
Instances of holy persons who have been tried by spiritual dryness. How St. Catherine of Genoa suffered from interior darkness. Saints not exempt from painful distractions ; striking confessions of St. Jerome and others. States in which the soul becomes devoid of feeling. That which renders us pleasing to God is, not feeling or the want of feeling, but the free action of the Will. Remarkable instance in the person of Father JogUes. How we ought to deal with distractions. Consoling thoughts onder such affliction — page 118
OF TEMPTATIONS AGAINST PURITY.
Exciting Causes of such temptations. They may be made the occasions of great victories and great rewards. This consideration a consolation to souls so afflicted. Such trials contribute much to Spiritual advancement ; examples from the Lives of Saints. Chastity does not consist in insensibility but in resistance. Remedies recommended — page 124
OF DOUBTS AND SCRUPLES.
No temptations can sully the soul so long as they are displeasing to it ; the doubt whether we have consented itself a mark of not having consented. Origin and occasions of scruples. Need of a charitable and enlightened director. St. Ignatius most severely tried. Persons so afflicted ought not to repeat their confessions. Neither ought they to confess their temptations or sins about which they have a doubt; they ought to avoid long examinations of conscience, and abide by the judgment of their director. Submission of spirit absolutely necessary; subtle inventions of self-love. We must combat *our scruples with courage ; instances of peace of mind being restored by simple obedience — page 130
OF SUFFERINGS CAUSED BY THE DEVIL.
Instances of ordinary temptations. Persons of extraordinary virtue tempted by the devils in an extraordinary way. These eminent souls the special objects of their malice. Their efforts to deter persons from practising mental prayer, and especially the highest order of prayer. Instances of exterior diabolical assaults. Their interior assaults most formidable. The craft and subtlety of these spirits of hell. Remedies against these temptations, ordinary and extraordinary. Directors of souls so terribly tried ought to be men of great enlightenment. In cases of possession, the exercise of the will not free; although the sufferers maybe obstinate in declaring that they consent with full deliberation. This state most humiliating, but one of the most effectual for attaining a high degree of sanctity. The devil flees before resolute souls. He has no power to force the will. Holy Communion the most effectual defence against his attacks. His efforts to prevent persons from communicating — page 139.
OF SUPERNATURAL SUFFERINGS.
These come immediately from God, and are most terrible. Father Simon de Bourg's description of such trials : the soul deprived, not only of reflective acts, but of the power of making many direct acts. St. Teresa's more detailed account of these suffering states. Similar reflections of another spiritual writer. Mysterious dealings of God with certain souls. Case of an innocent soul afflicted with all the effects and emotions of sin. " The exile of the heart": these words of " The Following of Christ " very little understood , page, 155
THE SAME SUBJECT CONTINUED.
These extraairdiiiary sufferings inflicted by God in order to perfect the soul in virtue and defeat the artifices of self-love. Divine annihilations; none comparable to that of Jesus. These crosses reserved for God's dearest friends. Signs which distinguish a passive state of suffering. What a soul so afflicted must do. The immense advantage of these interior pains page 163
Prayer to Our Lady of Martyrs . page 170
OF THE CAUSES OF CROSSES.
Crosses are sent to punish us for our sins. To purge us of our faults, and especially our secret faults. To sanctify our souls. In fine, we suffer because we are members of Jesus Crucified page 175
WHY GOD OFTEN DOES NOT HEARKEN TO US WHEN WE PRAY HIM TO DELIVER US FROM OUR SUFFERINGS.
All crosses come from God, and God is Sovereign Reason ; they are therefore always just. They are also always profitable, however painful. Dereliction of our Blessed Lord upon the Cross ; revelations to Saints . . 'page 179
OF THE ENEMIES OF THE CROSS, AND OF THE STRATAGEMS OF WHICH SELF-LOVE AND THE PRUDENCE OF THE FLESH MAKE USE TO ESCAPE FROM ITS WAYS.
St. Paul could not speak of these enemies without weeping. Mortification necessary for understanding the spirit of the Cross. Covert enemies of Evangelical perfection ; the great evil they do. The plausible reasons they adduce ; their terrible responsibility. Their maxims condemned by the conduct of Jesus. All great religious successes effected by suffering page 182
WE OUGHT TO HAVE A HIGH ESTEEM FOR THE CROSS, AND TO DEEM OURSELVES UNWORTHY OF IT.
The value of crosses beyond all price. The heaviest crosses reserved for God's special favourites. Our unworthiness to suffer : remarkable testimonies thereto. The reverence due to suffering. Few even among the pious really share it. Few look to God alone ; to do so demands magnanimity and courage. Church history abounds in examples of this generous Christian spirit. St. Paul's warm appreciation of it page 188
WE OUGHT TO LOVE CROSSES.
Jesus loved them with an ardour inconceivable. Proofs of this from the Gospels. Example of St. Andrew in his martyrdom page 195
WE OUGHT TO ACCEPT CROSSES WITH JOY, WITH THANKSGIVING, WITH ASTONISHMENT.
Exhortations of our Lord and His Apostles to rejoice in suffering. This rejoicing compatible with extreme sadness in the sensitive region of the soul. How holy persons have evinced their gratitude for being visited with afflictions. These heavy blows onght to be received as strokes of divine grace and regarded with astonishment . page 198
WE JUST CARRY OUR CROSS WITH ALL ITS DIMENSIONS.
St. Paul's language respecting these dimensions. The mystery of the Cross not to be comprehended without the special aid of the Holy Spirit. By its breadth are meant all its circumstances, effects, and consequences. Our crosses those which our Lord wishes us to bear, and not those which we figure to ourselves. The grievous trial of Blessed Robert d'Artus. The length of the cross is its duration : examples of our Blessed Lord, His holy Mother, and certain Saints. Holy souls even distressed at the thought of losing their cross. The height of the cross is the many afflictions of which it is composed. Its depth, the intensity of the suffering it causes. Holy souls thirst for suffering, while we do all we can to avoid it page 204
THE PERFECT CROSS, AS EXEMPLIFIED IN THE PERSON OF THE SERAPHIC ST. TERESA.
Few crosses are completed. St. Teresa a prodigy of grace. The vastness of her cross ; constructed of such a variety of materials. Her body one whole cross. Her own testimony to this. The sufferings of her soul intense, beyond description. The divine favours she received afforded her no consolation. The saint's own description of her torments ; for which she found no relief. The opposition she encountered almost universal. She is rebuked by her confessors, threat- ened by magistrates, insulted by the populace, upbraided by her own friends, denounced by prelates, condemned by doctors. The slanders, ridicale, and ill-treatment to which she was subjected. She is falsely accused before the superiors of her Order, and the authorities of the Inquisition ; her own General forsakes her. Her exalted virtues declared to be fictitious. The reasonings of human prudence. How they are refuted and stultified by Almighty Wisdom ; example of the Patriarch Joseph. St. Teresa sorely tried by evil spirits. Sufferings the means by which the saints are made partakers of Christ's glory . . . page 211
Prayer to the Most Holy Virgin, the Crowning Perfection of God's Works page 230
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